Truman baseball coach John Eglich pulled a switcheroo on Brian Read and Tom Ruddy Friday.

Truman baseball coach John Eglich pulled a switcheroo on Brian Read and Tom Ruddy Friday.

The end result was a 13-3 mercy-rule victory over visiting William Chrisman Friday afternoon on the Patriots’ home field.On a dreary, overcast afternoon that only a polar bear could love, Eglich switched his No. 1 and No. 3 batters with sensational results.

Read, hitting in the leadoff spot for the first time as a Patriot, was 3-for-4 with an RBI, two stolen bases and three runs scored.

Ruddy, who usually hits in the leadoff position, was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Ruddy also allowed just one earned run as the starting pitcher as he allowed a first-inning homer to Chrisman’s Dylan Cole.

“Tom and I switched and we both had good games, so we’ll see what happens,” Read said. “Coach didn’t say anything to either one of us. I don’t care where I hit – I just love to hit.”

Eglich said he wanted to use Read as a leadoff hitter when he hits from the left side of the plate.
“The kid’s hitting over .500 and gets three hits today and scores three runs,” Eglich said after the Patriots snapped out of a mild two-game slump and improved to 12-6 in the non-conference game.

“I like him from the left side leading off and Tom looked comfortable at No. 3 – three hits and he scored a couple and drove in a couple. They’re a couple of guys you can count on every game to make something happen at the plate.

“This year, we’ve had some guys do great at the top of the order, then we’ve struggled down at the lower end of the order. That’s something we’re going to have to work and correct as we get toward the end of the season.”

Ruddy, who pitched in gale-like conditions at times, said the wind affected his offspeed pitches.

“I basically just stuck with my fastball, because I was having trouble with my curve because of the wind,” Ruddy said. “It wasn’t the greatest weather, but it was a great day for our team. We beat our big rival, we got the mercy rule and we got the game in without any rain. I’ll take it.”

Truman scored five times in the bottom of the first inning. Read led off with a bunt single, Kyle Combs walked and Ruddy hit an RBI single to center.

Combs then scored on a wild pitch, J.T. Hayes had an RBI single and Jake Wingo drove home the final two runs with a single.

“I’ve really been working on my bunting,” Read said. “It seems so easy at practice, but it’s different in a game. It felt good to get that bunt down.”

The Patriots scored an unearned run in the second, Read and Combs had RBI singles and Ruddy drove home two with a double in a four-run third and Ross Paschall collected an RBI single in the fourth inning.

The Bears scored two unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning, cutting their deficit to 11-3.
But the Patriots scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to ice the victory.

“It’s a good win,” Eglich said. “We lost a couple of tough games this week and it feels good going into the weekend with a game like this.”

First-year Bears coach J.R. Wells is still looking for his first varsity win as Chrisman fell to 0-16.

“It’s a learning process,” Wells said. “We got the home run the first inning and we battled back from 11-1 to get rid of the mercy rule in the top of the fifth only to have them come back and score those two runs in the bottom of the inning to win the game.

“They’re a good team. They have good hitters and good pitching and John does a great job coaching his kids. We’re young, we make mistakes, but the one thing I can say about our guys is that they never give up.”